Friday, June 28, 2013

Rogue Legacy, Deadpool, and Console War Thoughts

Rogue Legacy (Steam) $15

Addicting. The demo was addicting and the full game even more so. It's one of those games where you keep saying just one more time.

The game plays a bit like the old Castlevania games, you enter a castle, explore it's many different rooms, attack chandeliers, and face gruesome enemies. The difference is that the castle rooms are randomized each time and when you die your heir is left to take on the battle, currently I have about 75 heirs. The game is a Rogue-like so you will die a lot but that's what makes it fun. On each run you can earn money that you then use to buy equipment, runes, castle upgrades, and a ton of other stuff so you are constantly progressing and making it further into the castle each time, usually.

The heir part of the game is awesome. When you die you have a choice of three different random heirs to play as next time. Each heir has different traits and professions so there are different strategies to use based on their stats. Some heirs are short, some are big, some have near-sightedness which makes the edges of the screen blurred, some have IBS so they fart as they jump. The professions are varied as well, like ninjas, barbarians, miners, and others, each with different magic attacks and special skills.

There are 5 big bosses that you must defeat to beat the game and after that there is a new game plus mode. I've played about 3 hours and haven't beaten the first boss.

There is a demo for the game here which shows a lot of what the game has to offer.

Deadpool (Steam)

I was able to get the game for around $30 so I went ahead and bought it before any reviews came out. Once reviews hit the scores were around 6-7 which is decent, which was what I was expecting. I did read a preview of the game on IGN and they pretty much raved about the game then when they reviewed it that rave was not anywhere in the review. I didn't see if they were the same writers, but really don't put much faith in previews.

I'm not too familiar with Deadpool, I think I've have read one of his comics, I knew he broke the 4th wall and was crazy. The trailers were awesome and the game so far has been fun. Comedy in games rarely works and in the four levels I've played so far it has been great, there are some really bad jokes but they all seem to work.

The game play has some issues. If you just come into it with a smile on your face ready to kill tons of enemies in various ways you will be happy, if you want something fresh and new then disappointment. The combat is a mix of melee and guns each with their own upgrade path. The action isn't as fluid as Batman or DMC, you can hit different enemies that surround you but it is combo based and some have a bit too long animations.

It's worth a rental but not really a purchase until it goes on a massive sale.

Console Wars

It seems that Microsoft and Sony are swapping tactics from the last console war. Last time Xbox included a wired headset with every console and Sony didn't and that made XBOX live so much better as everyone had a headset and most used them. On the PS3 since it wasn't included most multiplayer games were quite, if someone did talk the voice quality varied because you could use any bluetooth headset, I don't think I used a headset more than once on that console. The Xbone will not include a headset, you will use the Kinect for chatting instead. Really? I have an awesome surround sound system and there is no way that the Kinect can single out my voice, also how does it mix the different audio sources, a really stupid move by Xbox. If you are a multiplayer person then you will need to buy an extra headset. Every PS4 will come with a headset.

The PS3 was so expensive when it launched and it hurt them, same thing will probably happen with the Xbone unless they can prove the extra $100 is worth it.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Last of Us, Quick Movie Reviews

The Last of Us

I finished the game on Thursday night after 14 hours of game play. The ending was good, but I thought could have been handled differently. I got frustrated during some of the combat sequences and had to try some situations multiple times. I thought the shooting was the weakest part of the game and maybe I could have done better at sneaking around to avoid those instances so that wouldn't have been an issue. They should have had an option to mute or turn off cursing as it was overused. Overall the game was amazing and does show how much other games are lacking.

The pacing of story versus action was excellent. They varied up the action by using different enemies and some cool environments. The puzzles were weak and had the same solution so they could have used some variety, there sure are a lot of ladders in a post apocalyptic world. The story does leave something with you after you have finished the game. The world is a brutal place and you see how a person would have to act to be able to survive and you find out that many people couldn't. The melee was especially brutal and did make me squirm just a bit. The sound design was excellent, especially the support for full 7.1 surround sound. The music was awesome and really enhanced the game, the soundtrack fit the events in the game perfectly.

I went back and played some Uncharted 3 and you could see how much advancement ND had made and really makes me excited for what they can accomplish on the new hardware.

Quick Movie Reviews

Hansel and Gretel - Awful movie with bad acting. The CGI was cool at times but they relied too much on gore.

Switch - Decent movie starring The Rock, based on a true story. Could be considered boring by some.

Broken City - Ok movie but has some glaring plot holes.

Parker - Decent movie with some good realistic action scenes.

This is 40 - Vulgar for no reason.

New Releases - A ton of new releases on PC this week, probably pick up about 4 games this week.

  • Company of Heroes 2 - Really interested but not sure I have the patience to learn.
  • Dark (download - $40) - Looks interesting wait on reviews.
  • Deadpool (download) - Tempted to pick this up the trailers have been awesome, but comedy in games rarely works.
  • Gun Monkeys (download) - No Idea. Maybe got mad about always rolling on balls?
  • Jack Keane 2: The Fire Within (download)
  • Joe Danger (download) - Great PS3 game.
  • Joe Danger 2: The Movie (download) - Great 360 game.
  • Magic 2014 - Duels of the Planeswalkers (download - $10) - Def picking this up. They have sealed decks now so you can actually build your own decks which is a first for this game.
  • Ride to Hell: Retribution (download) - Another game I'm temped to buy this week.
  • Rogue Legacy (download - $15) - Picking this up. A Rogue like platformer where when you die your heir takes on the challenge.
  • Super Splatters (download - $10) - Paintball shooter?
  • The Sims 3: Island Paradise - Really?
Xbox 360

  • Deadpool
  • Doodle Jump for Kinect (XBLA - $5) - Jump, jump, jump.......
  • Magic 2014 - Duels of the Planeswalkers (XBLA - $10)
  • One Finger Death Punch (XBLIG - $1) - Five finger name already taken. or Sequel to Akara's Wrath?
  • Ride to Hell: Retribution
  • Spartacus Legends (XBLA - free-to-play) - Saw a quick trailer looks primitive and gimmicky.
PlayStation 3

  • The Best of PlayStation Network, Vol.1 - Expect more of these.
  • Deadpool
  • Hotline Miami (PSN - $10)
  • Magic 2014 - Duels of the Planeswalkers (PSN - $10)
  • Pool Nation (PSN) - Wonder which type of pool?
  • Ride to Hell: Retribution
  • Riding Star (PS2 Classics)
  • Spartacus Legends (PSN - free-to-play)
  • Warship Gunner 2 (PS2 Classics)
  • Hotline Miami (PSN - $10) - May double dip, a really cool game.
  • LEGO Legends of Chima: Laval's Journey
  • Muramasa Rebirth - Had this listed last week but it really coming out this week.

Nintendo 3DS
  • LEGO Legends of Chima: Laval's Journey
  • Project X Zone
  • Urban Trial Freestyle (eShop)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Last of Us

Last of Us

Was excited to play this game as I've liked all Naughty Dog developed games, especially the Uncharted series. This time they took on the zombie survival genre and have mostly succeeded. The story, atmosphere, graphics, and sound are amazing, it's a gaming showpiece. The graphics are some of the best I've seen on the PS3 or any console. The world is filled with detail, every room has unique items that make you feel that someone has lived in those locations. The world is a mess and they did a good job of showing the effects of a small subset of humans on the earth, it's an uninviting place that you really don't like being in. The world is filled with danger from zombies which so far have came in two types, one is like normal zombies, the others, called clickers, can only hear every sound you make, and of course the most dangerous foe, other humans.

The game has a lot of combat which I wasn't expecting. Stealth plays the more dominant role, but there are times where you have to take out every enemy instead of just sneaking by them. The encounters with the humans are the most fun since they have better AI. I had one battle that took around 20 minutes as I was moving slowly and taking out the enemy person by person. I was able to run away after being seen and that lead me to flank the enemy as they were looking for me at another location.

The game has gotten really high ratings except for a couple of outlets. While the game is great it's not a 10 as there are some issues. The shooting mechanics aren't the best, much like the Uncharted games it's the weakest point. I'm not sure if it's the cursor movement speed or what but something is just a bit off. I've had a hard time shooting the zombies, I do sneak but when I'm forced into a shootout I usually fail and have to reload. I was able to upgrade one of my stats that limits the gun wave and that helped some. The melee combat is brutal and you use different objects to take down enemies and some animations are tough to watch.

NCAA 14 Demo (Xbox)

Tried the demo last night and the game seems promising. They are using the new Madden physics engine and it seemed tuned a lot better than Madden was. I didn't see too many instances of weird player positions or players falling over each other. They did add a new Coordinators cam that moves the camera farther away and more vertical which allows you to see the holes open up better when running and see passing lanes. The graphics still look bad to me during gameplay, the cutscenes are sharp look great but once they cut back to the field I still see a shimmer and just not high resolution, hopefully the new boxes will improve this.

I'm still not sure that I'll buy the game this year, I've been burnt too many times. I'll probably rent the game and then make my decision. I really want a great football game, man I miss 2k5.

New Releases

Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (download - $15) - Old school beat em' up.
Fist Puncher (download - $10)
Hexodius (download)
Knights of Pen & Paper +1 Edition (download - $10) - Improved version of the iOS game.
Magrunner: Dark Pulse (download - $20) - Looks interesting.
Moto GP 2013
Neverwinter (free-to-play) - Tried and not my type of game.
Pro Cycling Manager - Season 2013

Xbox 360
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (XBLA - $15)

PlayStation 3
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (PSN - $15)
Storm (PSN - $10)

Wii U
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (eShop - $15)
Game & Wario

Jak and Daxter Collection

Monday, June 10, 2013

E3 Roars(Wars) Ahead

I didn't get to spend much time watching the Microsoft E3 presentation as I had some vendor work to do, but I did catch a few glimpses of Ryse which is an exclusive game for the Xbone.  The graphics did look crisper and they did seem a little denser with content as well, but the game play looked samey.  Third person combat with QTE's?  I don't mind them, but I was hoping for a little more creativity for a launch game. Then I saw the big news of the price, which was IM'd to me by Jamie,  $500.  How much would you expect to pay though for the one and only console you need, right?  A system where you have to always be online and can't rent or trade games.

Personally I usually don't by used games, I want to support the developers and I have disposable income that allows me to buy new.  I don't begrudge anyone who buys them and a lot of people trade in their old games so they can buy new games.  Microsoft didn't mention too much about their policies which was a mistake they should have a clear answer for all the question they created three weeks ago.  I haven't been able to trade or rent PC games for years, but I can usually get the games cheaper new or wait awhile for the Steam sales.  Consoles have never had sales like this.  If the new games were $40 then it wouldn't be as big an issue.  With the Xbone you are basically using the disc as a means to get you the content which is on blu ray and keeps you from having to download huge amounts of data on your Internet plan, I imaging though the digital version will still be the same price.

I then watched part of the Ubisoft presentation and it seemed decent.  They showed a couple of good games during an unfunny presentation, they tried at least.

I was ready for the Sony presentation and thought they would take Microsoft head on and they did just that. $399 for the console, you can do what you want with your games, and no online verification.  As Jack Trenton spoke the lines the crowd cheered and they knew they were punching the Xbone in the disk tray.  The PS4 looks ok, not spectacular, it has a neat design, but still looked pretty big, it can sit upright.  The games they showed looked great and I went ahead and pre-ordered from Amazon.  I may still cancel later, but just in case I don't change my mind.  PS plus will carry over and you do need that to play multiplayer games so that fact was glossed over, but for the price you get a good deal.  Microsoft did say you get 2 free games a month for Xbox Live, which shows the power of the PS Plus strategy, people like free games.

I watched quite a few trailers, but nothing that screamed a new experience.  Forza 5 is doing what 2K5 did where it watches how you play(drive) and creates an AI based on your tendencies which can be used in your friends games, neat idea just not new.  Dark Souls 2 looked awesome and so did the Witcher 3, two games I'm excited for and both coming to PC.

I'll have to see how many of these games are coming to PC and most likely will get them all for that platform.  No triple monitor support for any console.  They also didn't confirm that every game runs at 1080P and 60fps which once you get used to the fidelity, it's hard to go back.

I'll have more impressions later in the week.

New Releases -  Really only one game you have to play, well maybe two.  

The Last of Us -  Can't wait to play but unfortunately I have to.  Fathers Day weekend. 

Zeno Clash II (XBLA)

Animal Crossing: New Leaf  -  Got the digital version and it's really fun and relaxing.
Mighty Switch Force 2


Dark - Waiting for reviews.


Friday, June 7, 2013

A Plethora of Games

Scrolls (PC Beta) $20

Out of all the games I played yesterday this was the one I played more than any and the game I kept wanting to go back and play. It's from Mojang who created MineCraft, but he went in a total opposite direction for this game. It's a collectible card game mixed with the strategic combat of the Heroes of Might and Magic games. These two elements combined really make for a fun and addicting game. The game is in beta, much like Minecraft, where the game is functional and they will keep adding updates over time. It's very stable, I never had an issue while playing and never lost a connection after 8 online matches.

The rules are pretty simple and the tutorial does a good job of introducing you to the rules and of course there is a ton of depth once you learn the basics. It's kind of similar to Magic except the game board is made up of 5 lanes where you place your units and at the end of each lane there are totems and to win you have to destroy 3 out of the 5 totems. Each unit has an attack and health stat, the health stat does reduce each time a unit takes damage, and there is also a cooldown timer stat that is used to limit when a unit can attack. The lane system is the unique feature and what really drew me into the game. I loved the combat of Heroes of Might and Magic 3 and this feels a lot like this.

There isn't a campaign mode, I'm not sure if one is planned, but there are trials and quick matches you can play against the AI which is actually very good. The main draw is playing online which they have unranked and ranked matches. You earn gold by playing either the AI or multiplayer, but you do have to be connected to the server for cheating reasons. Gold is used to get more cards, you can pay to buy shards which you can use to buy cards as well, but I've found you can earn enough gold without that and get cards at a decent rate.

I played a couple of matches against the AI, but played the majority online and even though I never won a match I had a blast. If you are into CCG's or strategy games then you need to pick this up you won't be disappointed. It's a game that I'm wanted to play as I write this which is very unusual for me.

State of Decay(XBLA) $20

The game is supposedly coming to the PC, but I couldn't wait and went ahead and purchased the game yesterday. It's a single player zombie survival game that has some neat ideas and deadly zombies. The game is telling a story so it's more focused instead of a total sandbox game where you make your own fun. The goal is to survive, but you aren't alone, you find other survivors and try to setup a small community. The community has needs like food and medicine and you have to go out and search for these items in the world. I'm a little torn on this aspect of the game, I kind of like the feeling of being alone in this world, but having others around adds some cool features that you wouldn't have otherwise. The game is permadeath so if you die that character is dead, you are able to control any member of your community, which I had to do thanks to a leaper zombie.

I like the way the zombies react in the game, you can hide from them if you crouch and stay out of there line of sight, they kind of let you know when they sense you so you do have time to react and run away. When you search for items there is a sound meter and if you search faster the noise is louder and that will attract zombies around that location so you do have to be aware of your surroundings. You are able to board up windows, like in Call of Duty Zombies, which they will knock down over time, they will also come through windows if you aren't careful. There are guns but most of the time you want to use a melee weapon and if you can sneak up from behind you can one hit kill. There are zombie hoards that you have to be weary about.

So far the game has been really fun and probably the best zombie survival game I have played, The game
doesn't have any multiplayer which is a bummer. The game also has some jank, it's not as bad as Dayz, zombies will clip through some walls and the graphics aren't the best, but once you start playing this doesn't matter. It's just fun.

Scurvy Scallywags (iPad) ($1)

This is a match 3 game by Ron Gilbert who made the Monkey Island games and it's awesome. I usually get bored with match 3 games but they have included some RPG aspects that make the game addicting. The story is cool and the cut scenes are funny, the game overall has a nice look to it. There is more strategy in the actual matching than other games of this type. Your character is on the board itself along with enemies you fight so you are trying to move your character around the area and collect items as well. You have skills you upgrade and ships you can build so there is a lot going on in the game and it's these extra things that keep me interested. Worth the purchase.

Marvel Heroes

Sean and I tried this out last night and it's a decent Diablo clone with Marvel heroes. The graphics are awesome, the cut scenes between missions look like real cartoons, they are nicely done. The characters in game look great and you can easily tell each super hero. The game is f2p and you can play with 6 set characters, they aren't the best ones so if you want those you have to purchase them and the prices are very steep. I think it's $20 for a character, to open up all the character it's like $285 which is insane. We played with the default characters, Hawkeye and Storm, I did find a token to open up Daredevil, he wasn't that fun. Hawkeye had some cool powers but it's basically Diablo game play so it did get repetitive after awhile. We did get to fight against the Green Goblin and Doc Ock. If you like comic books you will probably love the game as they have almost all the characters from the comics and the story seemed interesting.

E3 is next week so there will be a ton of new game announcements and more details on the new systems. Should be a fun week.
The Xbone will require a check in to the servers every 24 hours or you won't be able to play a game, very disappointing.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Gunslinger, iKOTOR

Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (Steam) (5 hours)

I finished the game last night and it was great all the way through although I did find some tough difficulty spikes that caused me to have to revert to the normal settings on several occasions. The Mexican standoff was really hard as it had you facing two enemies and you had to switch focus between them while keeping your trigger hand close to your gun. I tried six times on hard and failed to even draw my gun on 4 of them, once I switched the difficulty I took them out on the first try. Once you beat the game it opens up an even harder difficulty level and supposedly more story so I will play through the game again and see what is different. I didn't find all of the nuggets of truth either so there is replay value and since the game is around 5 hours in length.

My favorite part of the game was the music. I thought it was outstanding and the O' Death song that is sung by Silas sent chills down my spine. The developer is Techland who is a Polish company and I guess they watched a lot of westerns as they nailed the music perfectly. All the sound effects were great as well, from gunshots to the crows overhead, they created an authentic feeling western game. You visit many common cowboy locations which keeps the game varied, I wished they had some kind of stagecoach robbery, but there is a cool sequence on a train. I was able to figure out the ending pretty early on, but the story was engaging and they did a good job of linking all the old gunslingers together.

I'm never good about choosing upgrade paths as I like a mixture of everything so I didn't max out one
specific skill tree. On the new game plus mode you keep all of your previous upgrades so I should be able to complete all of them on my next play through.

Star Wars: KOTOR (iPad) $9.99

It's amazing what you can play on a mobile device, in a couple of years they will be just as powerful as a gaming PC, the only problem is the controls. I do play some games on my iPad but mostly it's a time waster. The games are fun for a small chunk of time and they have little depth that keeps me interested for longer than 10 minutes. Board games work the best, and some of them I play quite a bit as it's easier than getting out all the pieces and arguing about the rules, plus there is almost always someone to play against since the install base is so large. I bought the surface so I could play the old point and click games from yesteryear like Baldur's Gate and the like. I did buy BG for the iPad but never touched it much since the controls were tough to use and the screen objects were pretty small.

I wasn't sure if I should buy Kotor since it wasn't designed as a touch game so the controls would probably be horrible and make the game unplayable. Luckily that isn't the case and the game is awesome. I've put in about an hour so far and the controls, while a bit touchy, work well once you get used to them. They didn't implement a virtual joystick like other games, you turn the screen by swiping left and right and move forward by pressing up. I did adjust the camera velocity down a few notches and I was able to move around without much trouble. Any item you can interact with just takes a tap and you move automatically to that location. Since the games combat can be played like at turn-based game and not require twitchy moves it plays perfectly on the iPad. You can queue up moves and select different targets easily. On dialog screens they place a number that associates with a response on the right hand side which makes selecting it very easy. Overall I'm impressed with how they implemented the game on a touch screen and hopefully more full PC games will make there way to the platform.

The game itself is just as awesome at it was before and it probably the best Star Wars story since the original trilogy of films. It's Bioware in their prime so if you have a IOS device and like Star Wars you should get this game.

New Releases - Quite a few new releases this week.
Alltynex Second (download - $8) - No idea.
Gunpoint (download - $10) - Cool indie game that I have pre-ordered.
Kamui (download - $8)
Marvel Heroes (free-to-play) - Like Diablo and Marvel Super Heroes? This is your game.
Panzer Corps: Allied Corps
Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4 (download - $5)
Prime World: Defenders (download - $15)
RefleX (download - $8)
Remember Me - Really thought about getting this game. Reviews are all over the place.
Scrolls (download - $20) - New game from Mojang, the MInecraft creator. Collectible Card game. In!!!!!

Xbox 360
Penny Arcade's On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness 4 (XBLIG - $5)
Remember Me
State of Decay - If this does release it looks to be a cool survival zombie game.

PlayStation 3
Alfa Romeo Racing Italiano (PSN - PS2 Classics)
Remember Me
Ultimate Board Game Collection (PSN - PS2 Classics)

Limbo (PSN - $15) - Awesome game.
Quell Memento (PSN)

Nintendo 3DS
Animal Crossing: New Leaf - A new Debt simulator game.

Class of Heroes II (PSN - 15) - First game was great. In!!!